The climate is hot and dry. The mean January temperature is 18°C (65°F.) and the mean temperature in July is 33°C (92°F). The average annual rainfall is 152mm (6in). The major natural resource is petroleum.
Temperatures from May to September are frequently in the low 40s C with high humidity common in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In the cities of Fujairah and Khor Fakkan the climate is more pleasant and also in the mountains above Ras al-Khaimah.
During the winter, the entire country generally experiences very good weather though it is often quite windy. Cold weather is not unknown and in the desert around Al-Ain, temperatures sometimes drop as low as 10°C. Winter in the inland desert is usually pleasantly brisk.
As a result of the oil boom, less than 50% of the inhabitants of the UAE are Arabs. There are large groups of Indians, Pakistanis, Iranians and Southeast Asians. The population is, however, 95% Muslim. The capital is Abu Dhabi and the second most important city is Dubai. In the UAE, six years of primary education is free and compulsory. Because of the income from petroleum, health services and social services are provided virtually free.
The people of the UAE are Arab, descended from the tribal confederations dominating the peninsula since before recorded history. Arabic is of course the official language but English is widely spoken and so are Urdu, Malayalam and Tagalog from the Philippines. All these groups add to the diversity of the UAE's cosmopolitan society.
The UAE has grown at an extremely rapid pace since its foundation. The population has increased from about 180,000 to its present 2,407,460 million while the revenues from oil have enabled the government to undertake a massive construction programmes including housing, schools, hospitals, roads, seaports, airports and telecommunications facilities.
The UAE had an estimated population of 2,407,460 in 2001, with a density of 29 persons per sq. km (75 per sq. m). Some 85% of the country's population is urban with Abu Dhabi as the largest city and the capital of the UAE. It also serves as the financial, transportation, and communications center of an area considered to be a major petroleum-producing one. Abu Dhabi is also a significant port and is home to a majority of the federal government ministries; the emirate of Abu Dhabi constitutes nearly 40 % of the total UAE population.
Dubai is the major trading center of the entire Persian Gulf and has the principal port facilities of the UAE as well as its busiest airport. It has also several federal ministries. Ash-Shariqah is an important port and industrial center.
Several aspects of the UAE's population are unusual. The population in 1995 was 15 times larger than it was in thirty years ago, mainly due to the immigration of oil workers. 80% of the UAE's inhabitants are foreign workers and their dependents. Due to the influx of young foreign workers, cultural preference for large families and improved medical care, the UAE also has a very young population,.